Financial Independence through Entrepreneurship (FITE) aims to empower women worldwide through providing micro-loans. Launched in SA in February 2011, FITE has helped 30 SA businesswomen to date. International non-proft micro-lending organisation Kiva powers the inititative.
Skincare group Dermalogica is the founding partner of FITE. "I think the most important thing for female entrepreneurs is to be collaborative and to help other women," says Dermalogica founder, Jane Wurwand, who was recently in SA to promote FITE. "Look for the greatest pain or greatest gap in an industry, fill it and you’ve found the greatest opportunity," she advises aspiring entrepreneurs.
Funds for these small loans are generated through proceeds from specially marked Dermalogica products as well as through online donations. Donors can also select the recipient of their donations from a list on the FITE website and are regularly updated on how the business is doing.
In SA, FITE aims to support women from poor backgrounds who often live in rural communities and do not meet conventional bank requirements for loans.